22 March 2012

The computer makes life easier

Reports have been filing in that guests now have access to complimentary Wi-Fi in a variety of resort areas. All resorts were included in the upgrade, which allows guests to access the Wi-Fi network in lobbies, bus stops, pools, arcades, and convention spaces (for convention resorts), but perhaps the most exciting option is the ability for guests to use the Wi-Fi network in their resort hotel rooms. It seem that the only place guests are not able to access the Wi-Fi network is at the campsites of Fort Wilderness, although hardwire access is still available at those sites.

It took a bit longer than it should have for Walt Disney World to open up these connections to guests. It isn’t that there weren’t wireless networks before; after all, they have been used for operations throughout the parks and resorts for quite some time now. No, I firmly believe that one of the driving forces behind keeping lined connections, and charging for them, over the past several years was an effort to keep guests from spending too much time in their rooms. Walt Disney World would much prefer that guests spend time and money in the parks, restaurants, and shopping districts on property than checking email, auctions, and entertainment news.

As time has passed, however, we as a culture have not only cut the cords to our computers, but also to all of the other technological devices that we employ regularly. Wireless connectivity has become a part of our daily lives, and a part of the experiences of Walt Disney World. We review current wait times for attractions, map out the weather for the day, and even send pictures back to far off friends from world famous park vistas all without ever putting our smartphones down. This is no surprise to anyone, and Walt Disney World has slowly but surely waded into the individualized tools that we know and love.

From Pal Mickey to Kim Possible, there have been a variety of ways interactive and wireless technologies that the parks and resorts have found to enhance guest encounters. The introduction of a wireless network lends credence to the idea that a way of linking vacation needs, Fastpasses, ADRs, even room key information, to a single device or apparatus. While specifics of this idea, commonly referred to as the xPASS, have not been released (nor has the idea even been publically recognized), it is believe that it will tied into a cellular application or chip enhanced token, such as a bracelet, charm, pin, or badge. With a widespread wireless network accessible to guest is an enhancement to the resorts that has been a long time going, it is also a fantastic way to test the durability of such a network.

At the end of the day, and no matter what is coming down the line, it is nice to see Walt Disney World fully embracing the early era of the 21st century that has touted for so long.

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